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Could regionalism in Spain be the secret to Tuenti’s success?

1 Apr

by Ben Miller


The social make-up of Spain is not dissimilar to that of the UK. We are both comprised of forcedly united peoples who have still not completely managed to gel (ideologically) into one national identity – despite the unification of both nations’ kingdoms and authoritarian counties centuries ago.

Fast-forward to 2005. The distinct ‘native’ ethnic groups of the British Isles are largely content enclosed in one main political border. Sure, there are still a few in the extreme west of Wales and Cornwall and the North of Scotland (as well as the Isle of Man) who are intent on fighting to the death to prevent Saxon infringement on their Celtic way of life, but nothing like what goes on in Spain every day.

Over there, fervent regionalism is still going strong, governing everyday life in the ‘provincias’.

Regionalistic pride is, in my opinion, the main contributing factor to the ongoing success of social media site Tuenti in Spain.

I set myself a mission to find out if this is true:

Xavier – Catalunya

Sofia – Pais Vasco

Joy – Galicia

Tellingly, the mighty Facebook is so dismayed by the fact that Spanish under-21’s prefer Tuenti, that they’ve launched a “young Facebook ambassadors” initiative, paying youngsters to promote Facebook to their peers as THE alternative to Tuenti. Unbelievable!:

Facebook does indeed offer translated pages in virtually every language these days, including all the Spanish minority ones, but it’s the feeling of unity that attracts young Spaniards to favour Tuenti.

Blogger Laura Parkinson suggests different reasons for Tuenti’s resounding success (don’t worry, this one’s in English!):

Though her reasoning may well be valid in its own right, it must be noted that her judgement has been formed in one part of Castilian-speaking Spain. As for the comScore figures, Spain’s enormous immigrant and population, both permanent and temporary (the figure of which stands between 7% and 13% depending on the season) contributes enormously, as they are those of an internet-navigable age are far more likely to belong to Facebook than Tuenti.


Integrating TV and social networks.

26 Mar

by Georgina Leggate @GeorginaLeggate

Multi tasking, multi media, multiple screens…..No longer does our generation sit down and watch a program from start to finish without tweeting our friends, or updating our Facebook status’. We actively switch our eyes from one screen to another, whenever we sit down to ‘watch’ a television program ! A recent study from marketing agency Digital Clarity found that 80% of under-25s used a second screen to communicate with friends while watching the TV and 72% used Twitter, Facebook or a mobile app to comment on shows. It’s just the norm. Facebooking and Tweeting whilst watching the telly is something we all do. It is how we communicate our ideas and it gives the viewers a chance to give their opinion on something, or let the organisers or broadcasters know what their audiences are thinking. More importantly than that though is social media enables TV executives to engage with their existing audience.

Some would argue (me included) that the resposes from these sites are sources of journalism in themselves. However informal they may seem to a person sitting at home, they are confirmed reports on an issue, a person, a program and they shape the way broadcasters consider output. It also enables the broadcasters to act on what their viewers’ responses are. These comments and the feedback which is collected  is data journalism in its rawest form.

So let’s say it’s a parallel; social networks working along side television. Our generation of TV watchers have been the first to see social networks intergrated into TV. Regularly now, we are asked to tweet about a program or to send our responses to the program in via Twitter. Texting or calling chat shows, is most defintely old news. What we’re watching out for now is not only social networking in TV,(we see that regularly on ‘@Question Time, @BBC Breakfast, @Daybreak, @Channel4news or Sky’s famous @AdamBoulton &co!) but how the likes of Facebook and Twitter can be integrated to create an interactive show. However this is something very big and it has its complications. On 28th Febraury 2011 the ban on TV product placement, in the UK, was lifted. Thus allowing advertiserers to pay for their goods to be seen on British TV for the first time ever..but what happens if social media complicates matters more?!

Say, for example, Colgate toothpaste is used in a popular soap opera such as Coronation Street (strange example I know, but bare with me!) Given that products can’t be given undue prominence during the show, and may only be given a fleeting moment on screen to avoid programmes becoming ‘brand vehicles’, could the association be further highlighted through social media? Could Colgate use social media in a way that utilises its connection with Coronation Street to help increase consumer recall?

It’s an issue which both concerns and exites me. On the one hand I think that it is an exciting development in the world of social networking! On the other it hasn’t yet been proved to be a success. In America NBC (The National Broadcasting Company) has created a brand new network loyalty program in which social media plays a starring role. ‘Fan It’ is a social media platform that rewards users who promote and discuss NBC shows. (on Facebook, Twitter, MySpace etc.) The endeavour is a network-wide initiative designed to leverage the presence of show fans on social networks and incentivise them with points for engaging with content eg. watching and ‘liking’ shows, chatting and recruiting friends. All in a bid to get their viewers interacting with the TV networks and subsequently getting more publicity and becoming more popular.

Social media and fake stories: how the journalist is reasserting control

22 Mar

Caroline James @CarolineJames1

One of the most significant aspects of using social media to generate online journalistic content is the speed with which stories break, spread and go viral.

But citizen journalists, unlike their official counterparts, don’t have the need to go to quite the same lengths to verify their sources and corroborate their stories. And the anonymity of the Internet makes it all that much harder.  The result? Hoaxes and false stories become trends faster than the mainstream media can pick up the phone to check the facts.

How do you trace a story you’ve heard from someone else, when that person heard it from someone else before and so on? Paul Bradshaw discusses a three-pronged approach to the issue: through content, context and code, he argues we can verify how true those unbelievable stories being disseminated over the Internet really are.  The chances are, they’re just that: unbelievable.

But, I would argue the non-story BECOMES a story by virtue of the speed at which it spreads and the reaction it engenders.  Doesn’t it say something of the nature of people consuming the news that the stories that get the biggest reader reaction – that is, the ones that make you go: “How funny/interesting/ridiculous! I best send that link on to X,Y and Z” – are rarely the big movers and shakers in terms of international importance.

Examples of these hoaxes can be found in their hundreds.  Take the latest story to do the rounds on FB: that Marck Zuckerberg would be shutting down FB on 15th March because of “stress”.

The one that sticks in my mind is the World Cup hysteria surrounding the alleged ban by the police on the St. George’s flag.  Now if ever there was a subject more perfectly poised to engender reaction it was this one.  Friends of mine, outraged, changed their FB statuses ad infinitum and we all decried the PC brigade for their anti-nationalist feeling.

Except it was a hoax.

FB posts like this one capitalised on World Cup fever and spread faster than England left the tournament

So while the outrage spread within minutes on social media, the traditional journalists didn’t see it.  Take the above post from one of my FB network; he posted this on 19th May 2010.  It was two days later that the BBC covered the story, revealing it to be a hoax.  It does not take two days to ring the police and confirm the story, an intern can do it in 10 minutes!

And when we had Charlie Sheen’s death announced on Twitter just weeks ago – twice – NowPublic began reporting it was more than just an innocuous, false story: it was a virus.  Hoaxes spread quickly and viruses are masquerading as them for this very reason.

So where do they come from? argue that the rise in hoax stories is symptomatic of our obsession with celebrity culture.  And these false stories are self-perpetuating because many celebrities who crave publicity are happy to profit from the attention.

These stories are false.  Reporting a false story is not journalism, reporting ON a false story is.  A case in point is the excellent Starsuckers documentary from 2009 – check out the YouTube video of it:

Once again, social media is helping to forge new inroads into online journalism – and the hoax stories are providing the raw materials to do this.

YouTube ranting – even less cool than Rebecca Black…

21 Mar

by Ben Miller

Just look at this video:

It epitomises everything that’s wrong with YouTube. Over the last 2 or 3 years, an internet fad has rapidly become a widespread obsession – especially on the other side of the Pond.

Scores of home-made videos began to appear on a site which had previously been a hotspot for people searching for music videos and free films.

Controversially though, is it journalism? Most of these video ‘bloggers’ air their [mostly tedious] opinions in a distinctly journalistic fashion, but is that purely due to the channelling of information?

One thing they most definitely are not is impartial, meaning that in the traditional sense of the word these would be (slash wannabe) professeurs de grâce can’t be considered journalists. Actually, screw the info, this is a severe case of cyber-bitching gone mad.

What really gets my goat is the sheer audacity of it all! Most of these uploaders, who usually ‘broadcast’ from a webcam in their bedrooms (or in Chris Crocker’s case under the sheets), drone on and on about how irritating their chosen subject is. How very dare they!

Justin Bieber, Lady GaGa, Britney Spears and scores of other frequently victimised celebs are torn apart by absolute nobodies! I don’t understand why some of these morons have millions of hits! Who are they? Why should anybody care what they have to say about anyone!? Especially someone who’s achieved far more with their life than they ever will!

A blogger called Megan O’Neill wrote a piece last week on a specific area of internet ranting that is not celebrity-oriented, but whose principles are the same. She notes that people judge entirely on what they see in the video, as they don’t know the poster as a person, meaning there’s a massive danger of being defined purely by what you say in your rant. Many of the responses to Megan’s blog post support video bloggers’ freedom of speech.

So why do they bother doing it? I believe that it’s purely an attention thing. Every idiot who uploads a bitchy vid striving for hits is hoping to be the next Perez Hilton – and God forbid there should ever be another one of him unleashed on us all!

Sure, advertising revenue stemming from YouTube’s commercial highlighting of those videos whose number of views starts to approach the million mark and its repercussions (popularity and interest leading to television contracts and appearances) is a definite incentive. But surely they must all realise that this type of success only comes to a smidgenous percentage of YouTube ranters.

Those who do start to attract a sizeable number of hits, however, often get rather big. And it’s this popular attention that makes YouTube a wholly social medium.

Luckily, not many peoples’ opinions (amongst my peers at least) seem to be in any way altered or affected by what they see of online rants.

Hopefully the trend will die out as quickly as it sprung up. Unfortunately, with all the millions out there desperate to have their nothingsy voices heard, platforms offering audio-visual uploading facilities are likely to carry on being clogged with this rubbish.

Happy Birthday Twitter!!!!

21 Mar

by Georgina Leggate @GeorginaLeggate

5 years of Twitter…

The revolution of internet communications was started 5 years ago. Twitter This social network now has 200 million users which include celebrities from all over the world. Tech luminaries, Britney Spears, the hugely popular Lady Gaga and even the president of the United States, Barack Obama! There are now 1 billion tweets and 460,000 people joining the network, every week! The first ever tweet was sent by Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey on the 21st March 2006 when the ‘twitter’ brand was said to be ‘silly’, many critics thought it wouldn’t catch on, it was written off by many as mundane musings on ordinary events. Twitter had a bit of a slow start when it began, and was averaging at just 5,000 tweets per day, compared to now where there are literally millions per day. Twitter had its lucky break and really became recognised as a worthy source of international news when the Hudson River disaster took place. A Twitter user on a ferry on the river ‘tweeted’ a photo of the plane in the water and within minutes it was all over news broadcasters all over the world, as this was their first source of information.

my most memorable memories of twitter in online journalism:

Hudson river disaster

Michael Jackson hangin his child from a balcony

Middle Eastern protests (the demonstrations which lead to the revolution)

Elizabeth Hurley’s hiccup with her Shane Warne comments ; )

An interesting point to note is that journalists are now paying attention to these messages more than ever before. Twitter has grown into something much more than just a social network, it is more of a social and international addiction.

Anyway a very Happy Birthday Twitter and here’s to many many more! Please let me know all your most memorable tweets….?

social networks: demographics and democracy

27 Feb

by Georgina Leggate


Tunisia, Egypt, and now Libya…social media has been the driving force behind most of, if not all of, the 2011 protests that have taken place in the Middle East. Social networks such as Twitter and Facebook not only played a huge role in the pro-democracy surge but they have provided a platform of communication, which is accessible to all areas of society. These networks have acted as a starting point for all of the protests and have given eclectic groups of repressed citizens, a taste of freedom.

The rich, the poor, the educated, the non-educated, thousands of individuals have been part of what we now call ‘the revolution’. Social media enabled both the protesters and their followers the world over, to support mass movements against autocratic governments.

Social networking also has the amazing ability to crush and flatten hierarchy. Let’s take the Egyptians for example. It is easy to think that the poor or the unemployed triggered the demonstrations, when in-fact there was a growing culture of frustration amongst all socio-economic classes across Egypt. Due to Mubarak’s repressive regime, class distinctions have become more and more blurred. Low pay, low moral combined with high levels of intellect and motivation created a spark that was going to fire up in to something much more.

The reality was that the individuals behind the progressive movement were young, educated and often, privileged men who had access to the Internet and had the ability to use it. The ever-increasing world of social networks that protesters used, gave them a voice.

The use of these social networks enabled technologically savvy protestors to make extraordinary use of the Internet and mobilise the masses. Despite an authoritarian government, social media gave the Egyptians back the power to the people as they usurped the incumbent Egyptian leadership.

Social media was used as a platform to reach citizens in their own country, neighbouring states and crucial, global, expat communities as well.

Unbeknown to the Egyptians, they were to start something quite spectacular as they gained national and international support. This ‘something’ was the ‘revolution’ which arguably stemmed from a large dollop of dictatorship, a sprinkle of civil unrest, a pinch of the people served with a large spoonful of social networks .

Ask David Cameron any question via Youtube

22 Feb


Theres only 2 hours left to ask David Cameron a question via youtube. I cant explain this any better than the video.

Good luck !